The Flash, Season 3, Episode 10, “Borrowing Problems from the Future”
Tuesday nights have become crowded now that Legends of Tomorrow has joined The Flash and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the viewing lineup. Being the friendly show it is, The Flash is here to help with the setup episode to end all setup episodes.
Not since the early days of Heroes with their “save the cheerleader, save the world” mantra has a series laid out a buffet of future episodes so lavishly.
There’s a plot reason for this generous sneak preview. As you may remember, Barry accidentally traveled to the future (a big no-no in speedster circles) and witnessed Savitar murdering Iris. After a week of nightmares in the enormous new loft he’s sharing with Iris, Barry hatches a plan to try to change the future without actually traveling back there.
This week’s villain du jour, Plunder, jogs Barry’s memory of a newscast he saw while in the future, where it talked about the Flash capturing the guy. In an effort to change that future, Barry has Wally be the one to thwart Plunder, getting Kid Flash some positive publicity in the process.
Thanks to Hipster Harry and some dominoes, Barry theorizes that if they change enough events leading up to the day Iris is supposed to meet her doom, they can change the outcome altogether, a theory bolstered when Cisco vibes Barry into the future and HR is there when he wasn’t before.
They return to the news broadcast to read the scroll for headlines that they can possibly alter, so be prepared for another gorilla episode — Caitlin becoming Killer Frost again and people not wanting to attend a museum in a building that exploded, and creating a never-ending stream of super-powered crazy people – change the headlines, save the girl.
Before we get to this realization, it takes about half the episode to catch the audience up on what the main group has been doing in the “months” since Christmas. Caitlin is trying to “cure” herself of her powers and to bring Julien into the fold to do it (there’s a romance brewing here, which is isn’t good for Julien, since Dr. Snow is the black widow of this show). Iris pulls Barry’s secret out of him, which freaks her out, and she decides not to tell Joe about it because keeping secrets has worked so well in the past. HR’s misadventures with getting the STAR Labs museum up and running created some moments of levity the show has desperately needed all season.
This episode succeeds in giving the team a common cause to work toward and lending hope to an otherwise morbid march through time. This may lead to a long term positive shift in tone, which could get The Flash back to familiar territory. Time will tell if the show can pull it off.